Fenian’s Festival was a unique Irish cultural festival held between 5th – 14th Jan 2018 in Fremantle, Western Australia, that showcased the richness of Irish culture and its lasting impact on Australia.
The Festival commemorated the150th anniversary of the arrival into Fremantle of the Hougoumont – Australia’s last convict ship carrying 62 Irish Fenians.
The visual and performing arts, music and literary program highlighted the extraordinary fact that many of these Irish convicts were educated and cultured men who despite their wretched conditions and grim fate wrote poetry, taught each other songs, organised music concerts and published a weekly, hand written “newspaper” called “The Wild Goose”. They brought this fighting spirit, grit and love of their culture firmly across the ocean to Australia and, those who escaped, on to America.
A remarkable story retold by contemporary Irish & Australian artists, writers, musicians, historians and scholars that brings to the fore the enormous contribution that Irish men and women have made, and continue to make, to Australia and America’s cultural landscape.
Music – Gigs and concerts, late night music sessions & sunset bar. From Ireland & America:
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Declan O’Rourke, Kavisha Mazzella, Fiona Rea, Lucky Oceans, Brendan Woods, Rob Zielinski, Aminah Hughes, Ormond Waters, The Rogues, John Reed and more… Music Program Co-Directed by Lucky Oceans & Donough O’Donovan.
Kelp Beach Bar @ Kidogo Arthouse will be the Festival Hub and open from 4th – 14th Jan 2018 – with lots of great live concerts, interesting events and a powerful exhibition.
Kidogo Arthouse / The Hougoumont Hotel / WA Maritime Museum / Fremantle Prison / Lionel Samson House / Notre Dame University / John Curtin College of the Arts / Lucky Oceans / Quest Apartments / National Hotel
Culture Ireland / City of Fremantle / Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme
“I am Delighted to offer my support to the “Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival” being held in Fremantle from the 5th – 14th January 2018. This festival commemorates an important moment in Irish and Australian history and will be of interest to all Irish and non-Irish people living in Australia, as well as people of Irish heritage all over the world. The arrival of the revolutionary Fenians in Fremantle on the Hougoumont was not the end of a failed chapter in Irish history but the beginning of almost uniquely successful one which would subsequently impact the histories of Ireland, Australia, the United States and Irish communities everywhere. The Festival promises to be a diverse and wish celebration of the finest of Irish traditional music, art, literature and history. I thank the Festival organisers for putting together such an interesting programme and I wish you every success in this wonderful endeavour.”
– Breandan O’Caollai
Ambassador of Ireland to Australia
“On behalf of the City of Fremantle and my fellow Elected Members I am pleased to offer my support for the “Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival” to be held in Fremantle from the 5th – 14th January 2018.
This festival commemorates an important moment in Irish and Australian history and will be of interest to all Irish and non-Irish people living in Western Australia, and people of Irish heritage living all over the world.
I believe the Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival offers an assortment of diverse events ranging from music and late night gigs to family friendly activities and will be enjoyed by all.
Fremantle is known for its festivals, and I believe that this 10-day Irish cultural festival will not only deliver a fun experience that will appeal to a broad audience but also provide financial benefit to many of the local businesses.
We wish the Festival organisers every success in their wonderful endeavour”.
– Dr Brad Pettitt
Mayor of Fremantle